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The Open University in Scotland has active partnerships with 15 Scottish colleges, allowing students with a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND) to get the appropriate credit transfer onto our Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science (Open) degrees, with or without honours. Pathways and credit transfer arrangements can also enable students with relevant Higher National Qualifications to progress to specified OU named degrees. Further information is on our College Routes website.

Our collaborations with colleges also include:

OU studies on college campuses

Campus-based model
Many students with an HND continue to use the college as a study base for their OU degree, through our successful accredited learning programmes delivered on campus. 

This can be advantageous due to location, for those with caring responsibilities or in employment, and students with disabilities.

Social Sciences partnerships with Ayrshire, Fife and North East Scotland Colleges are creating positive impacts for students, tutors and colleges; an interim review in 2016 showed they are an effective model for HN progression to Higher Education.  

Minister for Further and Higher Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville visited Ayrshire College in January 2017, meeting partnership students, graduates and staff. She said:

It is fair to say that the Open University has revolutionised the higher education sector in terms of accessibility and flexibility for the modern day student.

It continues to lead the way with partnerships like this one with Ayrshire College, making Higher Education accessible at the heart of the community, in a college setting.

This Government is firmly committed to widening access and learning opportunities for all, and it is partnerships like this, that are making it a reality.

Rebecca Brown achieved a 2:1 honours degree in Combined Social Sciences from The OU, delivered in partnership with Ayrshire College.

Hear Rebecca talk about her study experiences, and lecturer Andy Sinclair discuss the partnership (pictured right).

OU 'Learning Space'
In place at Fife, Dumfries & Galloway and South Lanarkshire Colleges, plus New College Lanarkshire and West College Scotland, Learning Spaces enable local access for OU students to a range of support and study facilities.

Susan Stewart and Shirley-Anne Somerville

OU in Scotland Director Susan Stewart with Shirley-Anne Somerville, Minister for Further and Higher Education and Science (pictured above) 


"The resources were very useful and easy to navigate within the site. The class registered and were given time to explore the open learning resources, they are aware of the learning log and have all enrolled onto a course relating to care or core skills." 
Rhona Keys, Curriculum Manager (pictured centre)

Open Learning Champions at college

Teaching staff at South Lanarkshire College (pictured) are our first college-based Open Learning Champions (OLCs).

These champions

  • use The OU's free, open educational resources to engage learners 
  • help them plan their learning journeys from informal to formal study

They applied this approach to an eight week Faculty of Care 'Gateway to Social Care' course for adult returners, out of work and education for some time.

At an OLC workshop staff explored useful resources, including badged OpenLearn courses like Succeed with Learning, resources relevant to the social care curriculum, plus core skills such as communication.

Students could use open educational resources as evidence of notional hours of study, and reflection activities included in their portfolios, such as a Caring Counts course.

The college OLCs have since introduced the students to OpenLearn.

Pictured (left) are Opening Learning Champions Agnes Sutherland, Rhona Keys and Rachel Ballard.

The latest edition of the Open Learning Champions Newsletter is available online.



Boosting employability skills through language learning
College lecturers and students took part in an event held by The OU in Scotland and Scotland's National Centre for Languages (SCILT), in June 2016, on increasing the number of college leavers / graduates with practical foreign language skills.

Read more about the event

College partnerships
The work of Scotland's colleges and The Open University to support students through their learning journeys was celebrated at an event in Edinburgh in November 2015 (pictured right). 

This was an opportunity for the colleges, the Scottish Funding Council, the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Partnership and The OU in Scotland to reflect on current activity, and explore new creative ways to engage learners.

Read the event report

Contacting us

  • For information on how your college can work with us, contact our Learning Development Team.
  • For more details about the Open Learning Champions programme, contact Gill Ryan, Learning Partnerships Officer.

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